Finnish heavyweight boxer Robert Helenius has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in his match against Anthony Joshua at the 02 Arena on August 12. This follows reports from Matchroom Boxing indicating that a pre-fight doping test administered prior to Helenius’ bout with the British-Nigerian boxer revealed an ‘adverse analytical finding’ for a non-steroidal substance.
The Finnish heavyweight stepped into the ring on short notice, filling in for Dillian Whyte who was removed from the main event due to a failed Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) test. Despite a recent low-level third-round knockout in his home country, Helenius managed to push Joshua to the seventh round before succumbing to a decisive right-hand knockout. This marked Joshua’s first stoppage victory since late 2020.
In a released statement, Helenius strongly proclaimed his innocence and assured Joshua that he has always been a clean fighter. He asserted, “I want to make something absolutely clear in my own words. I have never used any performance-enhancing substances, neither now nor in the past. My entire career, I have been subjected to rigorous testing.”
Helenius expressed his surprise at being informed about a non-steroidal substance being detected in his system and sought to directly address both Joshua and the boxing community, reiterating his commitment to fair play. He offered his willingness to cooperate with VADA and the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control) to clear his name, stating, “I am fully prepared to work closely with these organizations to take any necessary steps to prove my innocence.”
The doping test in question was conducted by the agency on August 11, with the results becoming known to all parties involved after a span of 14 days.
It’s worth noting that Helenius had previously taken a strong stance against doping in boxing, expressing that he would face a ban from competition in his home country if found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs.
This incident marks the third notable case of doping-related news in August. The first was Dillian Whyte’s failed VADA test, followed by undisputed super featherweight champion Alycia Baumgardner’s failure in a Drug Free Sport test.